MMA: Joshua Pacio confident despite fancied opponent’s grappling skills

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2020 07:33 PM

Reigning ONE strawweight champion Joshua Pacio takes on Alex Silva of Brazil in the main event of ONE: Fire and Fury at Mall of Asia Arena on Friday. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

Joshua Pacio believes he has a shot at former champion Alex Silva on Friday, despite the latter a being a much better grappler. 

Pacio, the reigning ONE strawweight king, said he has enough tools to offset the grappling skills of the highly skilled Brazilian jiujitsu fighter when they meet in the main event of ONE: Fire and Fury at Mall of Asia Arena.

Pacio’s reason for being confident? His win over Yoshitaka Naito, the former titlist who beat Silva twice.

“Para sa akin, I fought one of the best grapplers in this division and that is (Yoshitaka) Naito. Napapanood naman natin yung laban nila ni Naito, tinalo siya sa kanyang home game,” said Pacio. “Pero hindi pa rin tayo nagkukumpiyansa.”

Pacio beat Naito in their rematch in 2018 for the strawweight title.

But Pacio said there is no room for complacency against Silva. 

“Napapanood natin ’yung past bouts niya, nai-improve siya sa striking. He’s a warrior at challenging sa baba. Alam natin he’ll do his best,” said Pacio.

While Pacio has prepared for Silva’s ground fighting tactics, he said he’s added more to his takedown defense.

“As much as possible, prevention is better than cure. Wala pa ’yung, submission huwag mo nang ibigay,” said Pacio.

“Sa game ng MMA unahan lang ’yan. Kahit magaling ka sa striking, naunahan ka sa ground, tapos ang laban. Kahit magaling ka sa ground, naunahan ka sa striking tapos na . . . Kung sino’ng well rounded athlete iyon ang mananalo.”

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